Day 201: The Cool Down

Holy carp, tomorrow is Day 200? Ye gads, I’m not ready! 😉 Sure, it says 200 but you’d be shocked how fast the time flies. I remember when we set the date for my first wedding, it was 1991 and I was looking at a 1992 calendar. I had the date all circled but it seemed so far away, but then the process of preparing for the big date kept me spinning in three different directions until voila! The day was there. Then we went to church, took a car ride, partied, went home, and it was all over. There’s a reason my pastor pointed out that people go all-out to make the wedding a success, but how much effort do we put into making the marriage a success? Given that I have two ex-husbands, I guess we know the answer to that. *

Which is kind of how I’m feeling today. Broad Street was three days ago. I was all excited about the expo and planning and running with friends and what to wear and the whole shebang. Now it’s over and my next distance race over four miles is a 10k in November, two weeks before the marathon. By then I’ll have started training. Hell, I’ll be finished the worst of it and starting the taper, which I hear makes some people a little buggy. Personally the idea of running 20 miles makes *me* a little buggy but we’ll jump off that bridge when we get there.

But it’s a bit of a let down that it’s over. I ran at the gym tonight because it looked like rain. Just 3 miles because my knee still isn’t happy after Sunday, and I’m mad at myself for doing whatever it was I did at Boot Camp. It makes me wonder if I could’ve done better on Sunday if my knee hadn’t bugged me, but it is what it is, and really, had we not stopped for pictures, I’d have PRd. Que sera, sera.

I guess it’s the denouement that has me feeling a little blue. I’m still sugar-free (unless you count the dried mango slices I binged on today) so that shouldn’t be it. I have 201 days ’til the marathon, and I’m 3 days past Broad Street. Summer’s coming and there’ll be lots to do, and then training will start and that will take up my time, but for right now I’m kind of…meh. I guess I just need something to look forward to.

I was feeling all this when I got the treads rolling, but as soon as I was up to running speed, I felt that “Ahhhh…” that comes from knowing I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Honestly, given a choice between running or a massage, I think running does more for my peace of mind. Right now a massage might do some lovely things for my shin splint and calf cramp, but until someone wants to throw me a spa gift card, I’ll take the run.

Next race: a 5k in Downingtown, Run for Ryan, sponsored by Victory Brewing. Should be fun. I’ll always run for beer. 🙂

Oh, and this showed up after the BSR but it may be my favorite pic of the entire weekend. I had no idea at the time that Ryan had his arm around me. Sweet that it came so natural to him. I love my kid. 🙂

BSR expo


* For the record, the blame is shared. I know what I did wrong with both marriages. I can’t say the same for my exes but that’s their problem, not mine.


Day 213: Fantasyland, or, I’m Not That Old

Ten days ’til Broad Street. The nerves are ramping up. I checked and so far it looks perfect for the 4th; low 43, high 63, partly sunny, or partly cloudy depending on how you look at it. I’m just happy not seeing rain.

I’m starting to think about the expo. I have to go on Friday because I have a writing workshop all day Saturday and I won’t make it to the city in time. I want to run another 10 miles on Sunday, which means I’m going to have to get up early (on the only day I didn’t need to get up early) in order to fit it in before another outing at 2. But if I do it early, the rest of the day is mine. This is where I remind myself of the Facebook meme, “I don’t have to run. I *get* to run.”

Had an interesting message this week, from a 24 year old CPA in Philly who wanted to know if I’d be interested in a FWB arrangement, because “I’ve always had a thing for older women and I’m now trying to fulfill that fantasy.

I can’t even begin to say how many ways this pissed me off. First, he’s 5 years older than my son. Next, he clearly has Mommy issues he needs to work on. Third, I AM NOT OLDER. Yes, I’m 47, but I don’t look it and I sure as hell don’t feel it, so having some CHILD point that out to me in the guise of, “I think it’d be cool to get laid with a woman twice my age” did not entice me in the slightest. It actually made me want to wash my hands in battery acid to make the icky feeling go away.

I suppose he thought I’d consider it a compliment to be seen as someone’s fantasy, but the one thing I will say for age and wisdom is, I’ve learned that more often than not, fantasies are psychological issues you need to resolve in order to face and appreciate reality. I don’t have fantasies anymore; I want the real thing. I don’t play Walter Mitty, sitting around wishing I could run a race; I go out and sign up and train for one, and then I do it. I don’t sit back wondering what it’d be like if (fill in the blank); I’m going to go f*cking do it. The other day I saw a pic on FB that said, “You don’t scare me; I run marathons.” I haven’t even run one yet but already I’m starting to feel that way. Yes, I’m scared spitless that I can’t do it, but that won’t stop me from trying. I’d rather try and fail than wish I’d made the attempt.

Something this young whippersnapper doesn’t know how to do yet. Forget the fantasies, child, and go get what’s real. Okay, so he’s trying to make his fantasy real, but fantasies are for vacations, and vacations aren’t forever.

But I did buy a bottle of hair color because while I feel like I’ve earned my gray hairs, they’re starting to take over. I don’t feel my age, and I don’t have to look it either.


Begin Again

Okay, time to skip the angst crap and start thinking positive. Name it to claim it, right? No time like the present. (I knew all those Readers Digest quotes would come in handy some day.)

The divorce is final and I’m single again. We’re staying friends, though, and it’s not a bad thing. He has a lot more going on in his life, and sometimes I’m a little jealous, but it’s not all great so that, I’m not jealous about.

My time is my own. Well, outside of work and the boys, it is. Right now I’m on vacation and I’ve been doing things I either don’t usually do or never did before. Saturday I ran 6 miles without stopping. Forrest Gump would’ve passed me, but I didn’t stop and he did, so neener2. Sunday we went to the PA Renaissance Faire and had an amazing time. Monday I finished the rose filet wrap I’d been working on.

Now, the wrap is a little something different. I think of it as my Field of Dreams project: crochet it, and HE will come. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) My plan is to wear it on a first date. I just need someone to ask me, and I’m ready.

The latest project is moving along slowly but moving. I’ve quoted Twain before, “I can live for two weeks on a compliment.” Someone told me they love my voice (God love you, Lynn Kellan) and it inspired me to keep going, that maybe I’m not a crappy writer after all. That, and my victim impact statement moved the juvenile court judge to impose a harsher sentence on the younger of the two individuals who broke into my house on July 1st. Not the best experience of my life, but knowing my writing made someone think? Yeah, that made me feel better.

I’ll feel even better when I get my infamous Phillies bag back. Sad as it sounds, when everyone else finished their races and went off to find their loved ones, I went off to find my bag. My bag was what waited for me to finish the run and go home. It upset me when I saw the laptop and cell phone were gone, but it broke my heart to realize a week later that the bag was gone. I’m told it was recovered. I almost jumped off the courtroom bench when I saw the photo.

I see much better times ahead. I have my new lucky earrings, courtesy of the RenFaire (silver Celtic knots, exactly what I wanted!), and I’ve paid off a bill I dreaded. I see some money I’m owed coming in soon, and from here on it’s all fair winds and following seas.

At 17

I’ve been away a while. There hasn’t been enough time to get everything done. The last two weeks, I haven’t had time to exercise, but I need to change that. I need to change a lot of things, starting with getting back to writing. That’s likely been part of my problem, because it used to be how I held onto my sanity, putting Happily Ever After stories together when my own wasn’t doing so well. lately I’ve let them both go, and that’s not a good thing.

Last night I tried a variety of speed dating. There was Ladies’ Choice and Guys’ Turn. When it was Ladies’ Choice, the women looked around the bar at the single men in attendance and picked one out to either dance with, talk to, or get a drink. The men couldn’t say no, and no one could pick the same partner twice. Then the men had their choice, and it alternated every fifteen minutes.

I didn’t want to go. I’d signed up months ago but when the time came, I dreaded it. Most of us were the last ones picked for sports in school, and I assumed this would be much the same. (Ever hear the song, “At 17”?)

I was right. Not once or twice. Three times, no one approached me. I didn’t stay long enough for a fourth try at rejection.

I stood out the first turn at Ladies’ Choice, because all the guys I thought might be interesting were already picked, and there were more women there than men. Instead I danced with some women, and we enjoyed ourselves just fine. The second and third times, I chose someone to talk to. Nice enough guys. I’m not sure I picked up on any chemistry, but I’m so rusty at that stuff, who knows if I have a clue what chemistry feels like anymore. I don’t remember what kissing feels like, and someone touched my back over the weekend and my world paused because I forgot what it feels like to make close contact with another human being.

But to have no one pick me three times? I wanted to go home and cry, or murder my ex for putting me in this position. Okay, so we weren’t happy, but at least when he was around, there was still the chance we could find happy again. Being in this spot, where not one out of 40 single men (of varying ages) found me interesting enough to ask me to dance…it feels hopeless.

I know it’s not. This was only my first try. You have to kiss a lot of frogs and all that. I’ve seen guys when I go running, and I see guys at the store or wherever I happen to be. No one’s found me interesting enough to even flirt or start a conversation. I know I’m not ugly. I’m not J-Lo either, but I’m not repulsive. I can be funny, and I’ve done enough things to keep up my end of a conversation.

But really? Not one in forty? No one?

At least I can write about it. Maybe something good will come of all this angst.

WTC 93

Until I saw mention of it online, I’d forgotten the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It got me thinking about how different my life and the world is since then.

If you want to read another interesting perspective on the event, from someone else who didn’t happen to be in the building at the time, check out this Huffington Post article.

I have to find my blue “Welcome Back!” mug. I know I still have it, and like Buck, I’ve never taken a sip from it. At the time I got it, I didn’t think too much of it. Now, it’s priceless to me.

Anger Management

I’m angry. I’m tired of the bullspit my life has been for the last 13 months. I’m scared to death to make the changes I have to make, but SOMEONE has to make them. I can’t keep waiting like this. It’s killing me a little every day.

I know life doesn’t come with guarantees, but this is one crazy-ass leap of faith I have to take, and it scares the crap out of me. I could easily go along as things are now, fat and happy (well, not that fat; remind me to post the Before and Middle pictures of my weight loss progress), one day the same as the one before it and identical to the one to come. That’d be great.

If I were happy. I’m not. That’s why I can’t settle.

I credit this change in mindset to the progress I’ve made in therapy. The problem with progress is, you can’t go back to the way things were. Well, you can if you *want* to gain the weight back, but I don’t want that back either.

– – – – – –

In other news, craft-wise it seems I have chronic finish-itis. Over the weekend I finished four projects, one of whom has been in UFO status (UnFinished Object) for at least a year if not longer. I may have started it before we moved into the house. I was rearranging some things when I saw this pretty afghan. I needed one for the bed, for those days when I just want to curl up and get warm and take a nap, and this seemed about right. Problem was, it wasn’t quite long enough, and it had a loose end. (“Long enough”, translated: would fit Alex’s 6’3″ body from head to toe.) Over the weekend I found some yarn to add to it, put on another foot of length, and now it’s finished and sitting on the bed, waiting for me to have one of those days a free afternoon. I also finished two pairs of fingerless mitts and a scrap afghan I started when the furnace died after Hurricane Sandy. Now I’ m working on something I started last year, a Wingspan wrap that’s been idle since the spring.

I’m more interested in finishing old projects than starting anything new. This is weird. This is not me. I wonder if it’s related to what’s going on in the section above this one, but I really like having less unfinished stuff hanging over my head. It’s calming. From the inside.

– – – – – –

I registered for the Runner’s World Half Marathon again. While I realize this means I have to give up Rhinebeck, it’s a price I’m willing to pay. Last year I wasn’t prepared enough for the half, and my time reflected it. This year I want to do better, so I’m making plans to go to the workshops, watch the 5K and 10K, indulge in the pre-race carb-load dinner, talk to people and immerse myself in the sport joy of running. That night I’m going to get a good night’s sleep (something I definitely didn’t do last year, but half because I was too excited from Rhinebeck to sleep, and half because I was scared to death of how I’d do in the race), possibly in a hotel so I don’t have to drive 90 minutes to get there, and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it this time. I’ve seen the pictures of me at last year’s Half. I was looking down. I didn’t make eye contact. My plan was to get in, do my best, and finish. I loved it, but I’m not sure I enjoyed it as much as I could have. This time I want to high-five the bystanders, smile at the cameras, and boogie along with whatever’s on my iPod. And come in under 2:30 with a gigantic smile on my face.

The race is October 20th. I’ll be ready. I just wonder how different my life will be by then. Hopefully for the better.

– – – – – –

Oh yeah; the pictures. 🙂 

Before Jan 2012
Me, January 2012; already lost a few but had more to go.
Halfway to my goal weight!
Halfway to my goal weight!

A Truly Wonderful Life

I’m still stunned to be able to say I got everything done that I needed to do. I’ve been working on hats for Alex’s teachers for over a month now, and last night I finished the last one, just in time to pack up the gift bags (with the hats and some Candy Cane Lane tea) and send Alex in to school with his goodies one day before the last day before break. I like to send the gifts in the day before the last day, so the teachers have a chance to write thank-you notes back to Alex. Not to mention, the last day can be a little crazy; everyone’s deep in the holiday spirit as they’re trying to get ready to close up their classrooms for a week and a half. This isn’t my first rodeo.

This morning I got a reminder of the impact just one person can have on a larger group, if not the world in general. It’s almost a week since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, and I can’t help thinking that this time last week, everything was fine. Parents were shuffling their 6 and 7 year olds off to bed, reminding them that Santa’s watching. (Not unlike what I told Alex yesterday when he didn’t want to get his hair cut.) Kids went to bed and got warm and cozy, not even remotely expecting what Friday, December 14th would bring.

Since then, lots of people are looking for ways they can help. It’s not easy. I mean, what do you do for a parent who’s lost a child to such a senseless thing? There’s no understanding what happened or why. I can’t imagine there aren’t some parents who might be questioning their own sanity at this point. I know I would. How do you cope with something like this?

Yesterday on Facebook, the local newspaper posted a suggestion from the Connecticut PTA, asking people to make snowflakes and send them. It’ll be something for the surviving SHES students to enjoy, being virtually engulfed in snowflakes when they come back to school in January. I thought it was a nice idea so I shared it. (I’m going to try to make some snowflakes, too, but I’ll be lucky to keep my fingers intact.) My friend Lela, who’s a teacher living outside Dallas, TX, saw the link and decided to act on it. She asked her students to come to school today with their scissors; they’re going to make snowflakes to send to Connecticut. Cool!

Not that Lela wouldn’t have found something to do for the kids at Sandy Hook, but I managed to be a conduit for them to take action. I thought it was cool that the link from a small Montgomery County, PA newspaper made its way to Texas. I mean, who outside Dallas would have a clue what or where the Times Herald is? Maybe by making snowflakes for the kids at Sandy Hook, the kids in Lela’s class will feel like they belong, like they participated, like they can help people they don’t know, simply by letting them know, “I care what happens to you.” Maybe that will help connect us and make this world just a little better.

One person can make a difference. Don’t ever think otherwise.


Back to School!

School started here on Tuesday. Monday night I sadly crawled up to bed thinking, life as I know it is over. My pleasant, calm, easygoing work-at-home schedule went back to getting up at the butt-crack of dawn so the boys can be out the door at quarter to seven, I can be out by 7:30, and I spend hours and hours among…ugh…people. 😉 Really, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just that I seem to get more done on my own.

This isn’t necessarily a good thing, I’m finding out. Alex is working with the soccer team, and I got whacked upside the face with reality:  he doesn’t know how to be a team member. His schedule is off, and instead of going home and crashing in his room, he has MORE to do. I didn’t prepare him  adequately for this, but thank Heaven for his Coach; he’s not giving up on Alex just yet. More than that, I forgot a key principle to life in general:

Expect success, and you’ll get it.

I won’t forget this again. I’ll actually apply it to so many more facets in my life. Matter of fact, as I was kicking my own butt at the gym afterward, I thought, “If you don’t get what you wanted the first time, WORK HARDER.”

On a sad note, we lost a friend on Tuesday. Our cat Tilly hadn’t been well for a while but I thought we had a little longer. It wasn’t to be, and she passed away in John’s and my arms. I made it home just in time to brush her one last time—she loved being brushed—and to say goodbye. The basement just isn’t the same without her. There’s a space there where she’s missing. Likewise, there’s a space in my heart that will always be hers. She wasn’t the smartest cat ever, but she was sweet, and she had a difficult time in the world before John adopted her. I’m glad we could make those last thirteen years happy and safe for her.

Unfortunately, there were two other pet losses this week. My cousin’s cat Bella also passed on Tuesday, and my friend Valerie’s dog Ellie passed over the weekend. It’s a small comfort to think the three of them are rolling around together, in peace and love and no more pain, waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge. Sleep well, Tilly. Stay warm in that golden sunshine.

Running-wise, I ran 7 practice miles on Sunday. I’ll run many more in the coming weeks. I’m seven weeks from the RW Half, and yesterday I read something that said once I’ve run 10 miles at a time, I’ll experience the sensation that I can do anything. Knowing that took me from “I’m not sure I can do this” to “I can’t wait to do this!” 🙂 Time to get running!!

Another World

Not the soap opera (though I confess, I do used to watch it way back when). It just stuns me sometimes that people live in their own little world, not realizing how much more there is, even when it’s right alongside them.

A woman I work with lost her husband this week. It was very sudden and we were all surprised. We knew something was up because she wasn’t at work during one of the busiest times of the year, and she’s very dedicated so it had to be something. Well, it was.

By her own choice, she wanted to limit the spread of news, because my office has a grapevine that most news agencies would envy. She only told her manager, who told the rest of their department–with her okay–and because I know someone in her department, I found out and I told someone I work with.

Well, the person I work with is, to put it mildly, a funeral junkie. It’s the craziest thing but if someone dies, he has to be at the funeral. I don’t know why or what inspires him, but he’s there. I mean, seriously; it’s not like the Recently Deceased is going to return the favor. Me, you can’t pry to funerals. I don’t even want one of my own. I plan to leave instructions and enough money to have a kick-ass party. I want everybody to stand around getting pickled while they laugh about all the fun we had. As the saying goes, “Don’t cry because she’s gone. Smile because she was here.”

So today the info came down about the funeral arrangements, and she indicated she wanted the service to be private. My co-worker was actually upset. I mean, really upset. He thought it wasn’t fair. “Doesn’t she need our support? Doesn’t she want our sympathy?” Yes, he was serious.

I told him no, she doesn’t. She wants it private, and she’s entitled to have it that way. He got his nose out of joint when I said, “This isn’t about you.  She’s entitled to plan the services the way they agreed. This has nothing to do with you.”

I just don’t get how people feel they have a right to make a show of their feelings, even if their feelings are only for show. What does this get them? “Brownie points into Heaven”, as my Mom used to put it? No. It does nothing. If she wants to be alone in her grief, she has every right to that. EVERY RIGHT. Everyone handles these things in their own way. She wants to keep things quiet. I’m sure she’s aching from the inside out right now. Her whole life has been turned around six ways ’til Sunday, and it’s going to take her a while to get her direction back. If she chooses a non-standard method of going through it, let her. It’s not about you.

For what it’s worth, I’m serious. I want a big New Orleans-style sendoff, preferably at Citizens Bank Park, perhaps during a ballgame but if not, that’s fine too. They put on a great party. Look up World Series 2008 if you don’t believe me, or better still, check the video of Harry Kalas’ funeral. Each of the players carrying Harry’s casket to the car? Classiest move I’ve ever seen, but I can’t hear “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” without crying like a baby, yet I have 2 different versions of it on my iPod.

How do you want to go out? It’s all up to you. I say, do it with your own personal style, and forget what anybody else thinks. Just like the way we should live life.

Moving On

No, I’m not going anywhere. Well, not now. The blog is staying, I’m staying.

RWA called their Golden Heart and Rita awards finalists on Monday. My phone rang, but it was my son’s teacher. Mind you, I was on a conference call for my job at the time, so not only did I throw the headset across my desk (and slap the “mute” button) but my hands shook and my heart raced as I answered the cell phone. I adore my son’s teacher, but in that moment, I could’ve killed him with my bare hands. In the end, he had no way of knowing.

I entered another contest, but didn’t make the next round there either.

Know what? I’ll live. I cried a little, but I didn’t drink myself into a stupor (I had to pick up the oldest from his class trip), and nothing else in my  life slowed down. I still went to the gym, and I came home and made dinner and answered email and did some crocheting and watched TV. (The bright spot in my evening was the contestant on “The Voice” named Carla. Ooooohhh, listening to Adam Levine saying my name over and over and over…! <melty>

Saturday I run my first 5K. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think I’m up to it. I don’t expect to win. I only want to finish without killing myself or injuring others. 🙂

Sure, I’m disappointed about not finaling in two contests, but life goes on. You can’t sit on your hands, waiting for success to come to you.

Me? I’m running toward it.